The Ottawa Police Service says an RCMP officer was not criminally responsible when the door of a truck he was driving hit an intoxicated man in Kinngait, Nunavut, knocking him to the ground.
As first reported by NNSL, the Ottawa Police Service issued a statement on Tuesday saying its external criminal investigation found the officer “did not intentionally strike” the man with the door.
Instead, investigators concluded “the vehicle came to a sliding stop on a snow and ice-covered track, the driver’s front tire went off the track, the vehicle dipped forward, and the opened driver’s door swung forward and struck the community member.”
The Ottawa Police Service said the RCMP officer’s conduct did not meet the threshold of a criminal offence. Investigators concluded there was no evidence of assault, dangerous operation, nor criminal negligence, and the officer’s arrest of the man was lawful.
The incident occurred on June 1, while the officer was arresting the man in relation to a disturbance or fight in progress, police said.
Shortly afterward, video of the arrest taken by a witness went viral on social media, with many raising concerns about police actions. The video shows the man being knocked to the ground by the door of the RCMP truck. While he is on the ground, five officers restrain him before trying to move him into the truck.
According to Nunatsiaq News, once the man was placed in RCMP cells, he was allegedly beaten so severely by another inmate that he had to be flown to hospital in Iqaluit.
Following the incident, Nunavut RCMP announced it had ordered both an external and internal investigation into the incident. Nunavut RCMP also said the officer had been removed from Kinngait and placed on administrative duties.
In Tuesday’s statement, the Ottawa Police Service said investigators interviewed 14 civilian and police witnesses, examined the video and police vehicle, and attended the scene of the incident.
RCMP in Nunavut released a statement saying they could not comment further on the investigation nor its findings.
“Comment will be reserved to preserve the integrity of an ongoing RCMP internal review process of the occurrence,” Nunavut RCMP said, “as well as an independent public interest investigation initiated by the Civilian Review & Complaints Commission for the RCMP.”